Tranent aim to sign off from Juniors with cup hat-trick

Tranent midfielder Ben Miller
Tranent midfielder Ben Miller
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“Here we go, three in a row!” could well be the chant belting out of Prestonfield in the aftermath of tomorrow’s East of Scotland Cup final.

Premier League outfit Tranent are seeking an incredible third cup triumph in a year after an unprecedented double last season which saw them secure the East of Scotland trophy and Fife and Lothians crown.

The Foresters Park club have swept aside a host of Super League sides along the way in making three consecutive finals. Penicuik Athletic represent the next obstacle standing in their path to glory at the home of Linlithgow Rose – and don’t be surprised if the cup specialists upset the odds once more to retain the trophy.

Tranent midfielder Ben Miller still can’t quite believe what he and his team-mates achieved just 12 months ago and, he revealed, they are hungry for more success as they aim to sign off their time in the Juniors in style before moving to the East of Scotland League next term.

“The two cup finals last season feel like ages ago,” said the 23-year-old. “It still doesn’t feel real; it doesn’t feel that big a thing, but it was a massive thing. That gives us a lot of confidence going into Saturday.

“There has been a little bit of talk about three in a row amongst the boys. We are the holders and to retain it would be brilliant for us. Off the park, what Matty [Matthew Wright, chairman] and Davy [Innes] and the rest of the committee have done is an unbelievable so by winning a cup kind of repays it. Davy’s dad [John] passed away recently and he was really well known in Tranent. We all said before the semi-final in the changing room that we wanted to do it for him.

“We’re expecting a hard game but we’ve got nothing to lose; we’ve beaten bigger and better. We are the holders of this cup. We beat Lithgae [Linlithgow Rose] in the quarters and they are a big Junior team with some great players.

“It’s like any team, you raise your game against the so-called big teams but you can’t beat the so-called smaller teams. People say we are a cup team and things like that. This is our last game in Junior football and we just need to give it our best shot.”

A massive part of last season’s success was down to the influence of joint management duo Kenny Rafferty and Darren Smith, who left the club in November last year. Miller, who held initial talks with both Bonnyrigg Rose and Penicuik before committing to a new one-year deal with his hometown club, admits their departure hurt.

He continued: “We had an amazing relationship with them. Daz was still playing with us and it felt like Raff was one of the boys as well. I think I speak on behalf of all the players that we were all absolutely gutted. We’ve got a new manager in now [Max Christie] who is massive within the Junior game and I’ve learnt a lot off him already. It was good to have that kind of calibre of manager coming in.”

Penicuik boss Johnny Harvey will be aiming to derail the Tranent train as his side seek their first-ever East of Scotland Cup triumph. Penicuik may be a league above their opponents, but Harvey has denied his side are the favourites.

“I wouldn’t say we are massive favourites,” said Harvey. “You look at all the Super League teams they have beaten in the last couple of years and looking at the players in their squad a lot of them have got more experience than the players I’ve got. They have experience of cup finals as well, while for a lot of my boys it will be their first chance of silverware.

“In a cup final anything can happen and we won’t be taken anything for granted. That 
has been well drilled into the players.”